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Visually impaired toddler can’t get DLA

leahsmumleahsmum Member Posts: 3 Listener
edited October 2020 in PIP, DLA and AA
My 2 year nearly 3 year old daughter is severely sight impaired and has been turned down for DLA because “all children of this age need high levels of attention and care”.

Is this right?? 

It says that they acknowledge when she’s older her needs will increase so do I just wait until she’s older to apply again and if so, what age is old enough?

My daughter wakes 7-8 times a night and needs us physically touching to reassure her etc. She finds lots of things very difficult and I spend a lot more time doing stuff to help her than I do her twin. She needs more help keeping safe, more reassurance and everything just takes longer.

I first applied when she was 8 months as her play therapist suggested it and helped with the forms and we got turned down and I accepted all 8 month olds probably need more help so was hard, but now she’s mobile it’s completely different which is why I tried again.


  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,311

    Scope community team

    Hi @leahsmum and a big welcome to our online community  :) I'm glad you found us.

    I've popped your post on our PIP, DLA and AA discussion board to get it some attention from our knowledgeable benefit bods and hope we can help you.   
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    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI and welcome,

    May i ask if you requested the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) then Tribunal for either decision? If you didn't, was there any reasons why?

    To constantly reapply using the same evidence you previously used will very likely see constant refusals. May i ask when was the date of the last decision?

    Yes, all children of this age need care and attention but some children need more than others and it's definitely possible to claim DLA at this age, lots of people do.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • atlas47atlas47 Member Posts: 118 Pioneering
    Hi @leahsmum

    A very warm welcome.

    I am tagging @mikehughescq as he has detailed experience of VI and he is also a welfare rights advisor.

    For what it’s worth you should explain the help that your daughter needs, beyond those of a child with no impairment.

    Keep us updated.

    Best wishes
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,092 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome I hope the advice given will be some help 

    If you think your child should be awarded then appeal the decision you have nothing to lose 
  • leahsmumleahsmum Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you for all the kind support.

    I didn’t appeal the first decision (when she was 8 months) because I agreed maybe as she wasn’t mobile that it’s harder to explain why her care needs were more.

    I didn’t reapply with the same evidence as her needs have changed (gotten worse). I had all new evidence for this application. This time I had a new report from her play therapist, a report from nursery where she has a 1to1 explaining the things they do for her they don’t do for other children, a letter from her health visitor and another from our family worker who comes over once a week to help me. They all included a lot of detail about the extra care and supervision she needs. 

    I want to appeal this decision because I think it’s wrong but I was wondering if they were right and I need to wait until she’s older to apply? 

    I’m also not very good at getting myself across and can’t get help from welfare rights or anything as no one offers online help and my own disability means I can’t use the phone or go out to meet someone new
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,092 Disability Gamechanger
    I understand 

    Have a look through the report and each descriptor where you think she could score more . Then for the MR give real examples of the help required and what happens if no help , who helps her, what they do and so on 

    Like I said you have nothing to lose 
  • leahsmumleahsmum Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Sorry I don’t know what you mean by report. I just got a decision letter saying no and it has a very short paragraph as to why, which basically says all children of her age need lots of supervision and care and although they acknowledge her needs may increase in future they can’t consider that now.

    That’s all it says.

    Are there specific descriptors for DLA? Should I have a different report?
  • atlas47atlas47 Member Posts: 118 Pioneering
    Hi all

    Think there is a misunderstanding, this a DLA claim, not PIP.  There are no descriptors in DLA.

    You should request copies of all records about your claim from DWP, in particular the case manager’s notes (they are not medically trained and have no knowledge of child development).

    Hope this helps.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,092 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry for confusing you it was my error I thought you still got a report with DLA 

    I hope you get sorted 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @leahsmum and welcome to the community! Here is some information about how to appeal a DLA decision which you might find helpful.

    If you have any other questions then please do let us know. :)
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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,924 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    atlas47 said:
    Hi @leahsmum

    A very warm welcome.

    I am tagging @mikehughescq as he has detailed experience of VI and he is also a welfare rights advisor.
    Apologies for my late response on this. I updated my wall a few weeks back and forgot to include my previous request to ask people to not tag me in on conversations. [Removed by moderator] However... DLA for kids with a VI is a specialist area of mine so on this occasion I’ll cover the basics and then leave.

    @leahsmum the issues you need to address are as follows:

    1 - you say your child is SSI. Are they registered? Understand their VI by asking questions and understand the difference between visual acuity and visual function. DWP don’t. 

    2 - the comparison is with a healthy child of the same age. You have a perfect comparator if you have twins. Made every possible comparison for every possible bodily function you can.

    3 - you need to show that attention and/or supervision needs in connection with those bodily functions are not just in excess of the norm but substantially in excess of the norm. That’s a high bar but not impossible. Focus not just on the length of attention or supervision but also on the quality of it i.e. it’s not just about giving a child attention with the bodily function of washing for 20 minutes. It’s about what you do in those 20 minutes. 

    A healthy 3 year old may not be able to get in and out of a bath safely by themselves but they will be able to see enough to try. A SSI 3 year old may need help for the same length of time but what was supervision for the healthy child becomes attention (an actual physical intervention) and is much more involving despite possibly taking the same length of time. When you’re trying to prove substantially in excess then the intensity of what you do matters as much as how long it lasts. That means you need to give detail and lots of it.

    4 - most children’s DLA cases which win do so by being pursued to appeal. It’s not great but it is the reality. Multiple claims can be damaging to your credibility as a claimant so pursue this to the end and get yourself representation. It will help.

    5 - medical evidence is rarely a help in VI cases. Real world examples of attempts to perform bodily functions are what matters. No amount of GP reports or eye hospital help or school letters will get your child DLA. You are the best evidence. I’m reluctant to say it as it’s a but simplistic but much of why you think about your child’s condition will not be accurate. Some of it you will attribute to personality. It’s important to keep a diary for a couple of weeks as it will help you remember many small incidents which would otherwise pass by. One of the biggest things is mistakenly attributing eye related issues to personality type. So, labelling your child shy in circumstances where actually they are just scared but don’t yet have the vocabulary to express that. Similarly forgetting that the single most tiring thing they will do every day is try to see. The eyes are operated by muscles just like legs and whilst they don’t usually show hurt the same way as legs they do nevertheless hurts bad tire. Your child’s inexplicable tiredness or clumsiness in familiar places doing familiar things is actually totally explicable when thought of this way.

    6 - do not forget that sight loss/impairment is environmental. What they can see now in this room is not what they can necessarily see 2 minutes later in the same room if the light changes or people or objects move or the effort of concentrating on a specific  activity quickly tires them. Do not forget to explain this or differences between good and low light. 

    7 - seeing is a bodily function. The DLA form forgets this. You must not. Help with seeing is effectively continuous and if you’re not doing it somebody wise will be. 

    8 - aim for lower rate DLA care for 1 to 2 years and then look at lower rate mobility at the next claim. 
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